Ashraf Rifi

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Ashraf Rifi
أشرف ريفي
Minister of Justice
In office
15 February 2014 – 21 February 2016
Prime MinisterTammam Salam
Preceded byShakib Qortbawi
Succeeded bySalim Jreissati
General Director of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces
In office
1 April 2005 – 1 April 2013
Preceded byAli Al Hajj
Succeeded byRoger Salem
Personal details
Born (1954-04-01) 1 April 1954 (age 68)
Tripoli, Lebanon
Alma materLebanese University
Military service
RankMajor General

Ashraf Rifi (Arabic: أشرف ريفي; also spelled Achraf Rifi) (born 1 April 1954) was the general director of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF; the national police) from 2005 to 2013. He served as minister of justice from 15 February 2014 to 21 February 2016.

Early life and education[edit]

Rifi was born into a Sunni family in Tripoli, Lebanon on 1 April 1954.[1][2] He attended Lebanese University, studying the sociology of crime. He studied police work abroad during assignments with police forces in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Maisons-Alfort, France; and Saudi Arabia.[citation needed]

Career and alliances[edit]

Rifi was promoted to major general in April 2005 when he was named to head the national police due to the resignation of former head, Ali Al Hajj.[3] Rifi is one of the board members of the Prince Nayef University for Security Studies.[4] Rifi has close ties to Saudi Arabia.[4][5]

Rifi's term ended on 1 April 2013 and he retired due to mandatory age limit.[6][7] Rifi's term was not extended by the Lebanese government, leading to resignation of premier Najib Mikati in March 2013.[8][9] Hezbollah members of the Mikati cabinet did not endorse the extension of his term.[10] Roger Salem, who had been deputy of Rifi since December 2012, succeeded Rifi as head of the ISF.[11][12] Saad Hariri proposed Rifi as a new prime minister, but his proposal was not supported.[6]

Rifi as a general director of internal Security Forces was very open to cooperate with civil society organizations. For example, he supported the partnership between ISF and YASA (youth association for social awareness) in many road safety interventions that contributed positively for road safety in Lebanon.[13] He supported the efforts that led to the new Lebanese traffic law #243 that was enacted by the Lebanese parliament in 2012.

Rifi was appointed justice minister in the cabinet led by Tammam Salam on 15 February 2014.[14] He resigned as justice minister on 21 February 2016,[15] due to his disapproval of the influence of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite political group, in the Lebanese government. Rifi quit by order of Saudi Arabia according to the assertions of Al Jazeera while they pulled a $3-billion deal to equip the Lebanese security forces and blamed Hezbollah's influence for preventing Lebanon from backing Saudi Arabia in the Gulf kingdom, saying it was "destroying Lebanon's relations with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia."[16][17]

In April 2021, he heavily criticized Hezbollah, calling them a collaborator of mini-Nazi Iran and an enemy to Lebanon.[18]


The Arab Organization for Administrative Development for the Arab League and the Tatweej Academy for Excellence and Quality awarded Rifi with the title of Man of the Year 2011 in the Arab world for his leadership in security in December 2011.[19]


  1. ^ "Killing Mr. Lebanon II: Wissam al-Hassan". Arabs Think. 21 October 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  2. ^ "ISF is doing its job". Wikileaks. 13 May 2008. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Lebanese Govt Removes Top Prosecutor, Security Chief". Arab News. 29 April 2005. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  4. ^ a b AbuKhalil, Asad (13 August 2012). "The Michel Samaha Affair". Al Akhbar. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  5. ^ Galey, Patrick (14 August 2012). "Is Assad trying to export Syria's crisis to Lebanon?". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Jumblatt says backs Salam, wants national unity Cabinet". The Daily Star. 4 April 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Lebanese president accepts premier's resignation". The Wenatchee World. AP. 23 March 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  8. ^ Rowell, Alex (28 March 2013). "The battle for Rifi's successor". Ya Libnan. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  9. ^ Dakroub, Hussein (5 April 2013). "Salam emerges as Lebanon's next PM". The Daily Star. Beirut. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  10. ^ "Ghosn approves extension of security chief's term". The Daily Star. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  11. ^ "Rifi hands over police helm to Salem". The Daily Star. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  12. ^ "Cabinet appoints Roger Salem dep. com. of ISF". The Daily Star. Beirut. 5 December 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  13. ^ YASA
  14. ^ "Lebanese cabinet formed after 10-month stalemate". Al Arabiya. 15 February 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  15. ^ "Lebanese minister resigns over Hezbollah domination". Associated Press. 21 February 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  16. ^ "Lebanon minister quits over 'Hezbollah domination'". Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  17. ^ "Lebanese justice minister resigns, blames Hezbollah over deadlock, court case". Reuters. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  18. ^ "Former Lebanese Minister Of Justice Ashraf Rifi: Hizbullah Is A Collaborator Of 'Mini-Nazi' Iran, Enemy Of Lebanon; It Is Leading Lebanon To Suicide". Middle East Media Research Institute. 2 April 2021.
  19. ^ "Rifi gets Arab 'Man of the Year 2011' award". The Daily Star. 7 December 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2012.